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At-Home Dad: How our lives have changed

Posted June 27, 2012

Editor's Note: It's stay-at-home dad week on Go Ask Mom! On Monday, we featured Triangle Stay at Home Dads, which meets regularly across the Triangle. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Mike Slawter, a Raleigh stay-at-home dad of two girls, wrote about his experiences. Here's his third post.

When we were single, we could do pretty much as we wanted.

We have always had dogs as pets so that, at times, curtailed a few things like how long we could be away for a day trip. Otherwise, if we went out of town, the dogs went with us or we boarded them at the kennel. Funny thing ... you can’t do that with your kids. If anyone knows of a kiddie kennel, please advise!

One of the biggest changes we have had to adjust to is having only one income. This means budgeting what we spend and where we spend it. It also means we have an extra mouth to feed, diapers and wipes to buy, and more visits to the pediatrician. We also have to make sure we keep to a close schedule with Katie for her feedings and bedtime. Staying out too late can make for a bad night. TRUST ME.

Having one income has also meant that we haven’t been out of town for more than a few hours either. The furthest we have been is back home to the city I grew up in - Greensboro. Our oldest daughter keeps asking us when we are going back to the beach. We haven’t figured that one out yet. We kept our two dogs, which only adds to a hectic life that includes carpool, afterschool activities, mom working late, church during the week and more.

One other big change is a new car. In 2003, I bought myself the vehicle I wanted: A brand new Dodge Ram truck. Six weeks after that, we found out we were pregnant with our first daughter Abby. So, that had to change. We traded that in for an SUV and took the hit.

In 2010, we bought a new car over Thanksgiving. It was a great car. Notice I said "was?"

In 2011, we found out we were expecting No. 2, Katie, so we had to get something bigger again. I am convinced that if we buy a new car, undoubtedly, a baby is soon to come. So, we have a bit of negative equity on the vehicle we have now and the change in car payments has nullified any “extra” fun money we may have had.

Things have changed for us, that's for sure.

Bills, a new car, more trips to the pediatrician and other baby stuff have made it tight. Tighter than I would wish. Nevertheless, as with all things, there is a good side and bad side. I choose to focus on the good.

Perhaps the best change is that now our oldest has a sibling. Even better, a sister. These two crack us up. Katie lights up when her big sister Abby comes into the room. And heaven help us if she leaves the room! We all hear about it.

Abby has been a blessing. She watches her little sister while we take showers and has helped to feed and change her. She rides beside her in the back seat each day during carpool and the ride home. I envision a long future of love and playfulness with these two.

We knew things were going to change. However, we didn’t expect so much of it. In life, we all have change. It is inevitable. I would say the lesson we have learned is to deal and roll with it. We cannot stop it and it is futile to do think we can. Embrace it. It makes for a great ride!

Mike Slawter is the father of two girls in Raleigh. He has been on his stay at home daddy adventure now for six months. You can follow him on his blog.

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